Irish Language Blog

Wrapping Up “Before” (roimh, sula, etc.) and “After” (i ndiaidh, tar éis, etc.) Posted by on Nov 21, 2010 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Before we really start talking turcaí, in honor of Lá an Altaithe (the American holiday coming up), let’s briefly review the “before” and “after” spectrum.  Then, after our turkey interlude, we can resume with the points of the compass, as hinted at earlier.

For the word “before,” there were two main expressions, one to use roimh ainmfhocail and the other roimh bhriathra.  That was a hint.  “Roimh” is used before nouns, as in:

roimh ainmfhocail [riv AN-yim-OK-il] before nouns

roimh bhriathra [riv VRE-uh-hruh] before verbs

Roimh” can also be used before the definite article “an,” as in:

roimh an dáta, before the date

Roimh” also has seven other forms that show the incorporation of the pronouns mé, tú, sé, sí, sinn/muid, sibh, and siad, some fairly obviously (roimh + mé, romham) and others with no obvious connection (roimh + (s)iad, rompu):

romham, romhat, roimhe, roimpi, romhainn, romhaibh, rompu.

Perhaps the most widely used phrase incorporating these is “fáilte romhat,” or its plural variation, “fáilte romhaibh” (lit. a welcome before you).  It’s used to say “you’re welcome,” after someone has thanked you.

The second main word for “before” is “sula,” which is used before verbs, as in:

Íosfaidh muid an turcaí sula n-íosfaidh muid an mhilseog.

We will eat the turkey before we (will) eat the dessert.

Sula” causes eclipsis of both consonants and vowels.  Eclipsis of vowels is less common than eclipsis of consonants, so you may not have seen it as often.  Eclipsis of vowels is always indicated by prefixing “n-“ (with the dash included).

Can you fill in the blanks to create eclipsis in these examples (freagraí thíos):

a. Bealaíonn sé an turcaí sula  ___cuireann sé san oigheann é.

b. Trusálann sé an turcaí sula  ___bealaíonn sé é.

c. Ligfidh muid don cheirtlis coipeadh sula  ___ólfaidh muid í.

Some consonants, like “r,” cannot be eclipsed, so they see no change:

Bhí seisean ann sula raibh muide ann.  He was there before we were there.

As for “after,” two key phrases are “i ndiaidh” and “tar éis,” both of which are followed by an tuiseal ginideach when nouns are involved, as in:

tar éis an dinnéir, after (the) dinner

i ndiaidh an dinnéir, after (the) dinner

Remember, “dinnéir” is the genitive case form of “dinnéar” (dinner).

These phrases are also widely used in telling time.  In  these cases, the genitive case is not involved:

ceathrú tar éis a trí, quarter past three

leathuair i ndiaidh a trí, half past three

As you may recall from all the other examples that we’ve seen over the past few weeks, there are many other words in Irish that either mean or can be translated as “before” (ar tosach, os comhair, arú, srl.) or after (iar-, arú, srl.).  As usual, this review was just a sampling.

And, at least we got the turkey trussed and basted, so I guess we had a little “caint turcaí” after all!  Slán go fóill–Róislín

Gluais: bealú, to baste; coipeadh, to ferment; ligfidh muid, we’ll let; trusáil, to truss

Freagraí: a) sula gcuireann, b) sula mbealaíonn  c) sula n-ólfaidh

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